Corporate Anniversaries

“But what about that one?” the distributor asked as he turned toward our “varsity” quarter-zip pullover bearing the year “1950” across the chest in bold, two-layer twill applique.

I racked the polo shirt I was holding and grabbed the pullover off of the pop-up display. After seeing the shirt and feeling the decoration, the distributor exclaimed, “My client has a 100th year anniversary coming up. This would be perfect!”

This was the third time that a distributor at the tradeshow focused on this particular garment. Needless to say, for the remainder of the show, I introduced our “varsity” pullover as our “corporate anniversary” piece.

A Hidden Complementary Niche Market

Every year nearly two million companies reach a significant corporate milestone, such as five years, 50 years, or even 100 years in business. These anniversaries present great advertising opportunities because promoting the number of years in business tells customers that the company is experienced and trustworthy.

As a distributor, selling anniversary-themed promotional products is an excellent way to gain new clients and strengthen relationships with existing clients. Identifying companies with upcoming corporate anniversaries is easier than you might think. It involves a little bit of basic math to determine the founding year of companies with upcoming anniversaries.

For example, if we subtract 100 from 2016, then we know that any company founded in the year 1916 will soon be celebrating a 100th year anniversary. Repeat this same process with 75, 50, 25, 10, and 5 to get the following years of 1941, 1966, 1991, 2006, and 2011.

Then run a few Google searches. An example of one search would be: “founded in 1916” in quotes. Another would be “established in 1916.” You should also add in extra keywords, such as your state, to help return more relevant search results. Repeat the search for each of the years that you have calculated and record the names on a prospect list.

Celebrating with Unique Decorated Apparel

Decorated apparel is an excellent choice for corporate anniversaries. When each employee is rewarded with a new, anniversary-themed piece of apparel, they become an active participant in the company’s legacy and the corresponding marketing message.

The eye-catching piece that stole the tradeshow was a pullover with a large front applique logo displaying “1950” across the chest with the company’s logo also embroidered on the left bicep sleeve area. Another popular option involves utilizing multiple placements on a polo shirt. For example, the left chest could display the company’s logo, and the right bicep could display the year in which the company was founded (e.g. “Est. 1916”).

Making Your Pitch

After researching your prospects, it is time to deliver your corporate-anniversary pitch. It is always a great idea to have your supplier create free, virtual presentations of your ideas so you can show the client something tangible.

If you follow these steps, then I guarantee that the client will love the thought and creativity that went into your presentation. They may even reward you with an order. Good luck!

– Mike Wilkos is Strategic Accounts Manager at Vantage Apparel. Contact Mike at (732) 340-3186 or Visit the company’s website at